Aging in so many ways is about loss—the loss of a spouse, the loss of physical or cognitive abilities, the loss of friends. When we speak to our loved ones about leaving a home that they have in lived in for many years, we are also speaking about downsizing and the loss of home. And in so many ways, our stuff is what defines us. Our possessions hold memories of family, travel, life events, and professional accomplishments. Here are some tips to help you with downsizing the family home.
Take What You Love
Downsizing can be difficult. It helps to focus on the things in your home that have meaning for you, even if you have not used them in a while.
Take Your Time
Downsizing and sorting is exhausting. It will take time to go through all your household contents, especially if you have lived in your home for many years. Plan to spend a few hours at a time working through the sorting process. This is not a task that you can do for long periods of time at any age. Begin downsizing three to six months before you plan to make a major lifestyle move. Schedule appointments with yourself to downsize just as you might schedule a doctor’s appointment, a golf game, or bridge club. You will feel more prepared and less stress if you begin well in advance of a major lifestyle move.
Making It Easier To Let Go
Downsizing is as much about sorting through a lifetime of memories as it is about possessions. Don’t expect to pack up those framed portraits of your parents or grandparents without shedding a tear. Belongings all contain memories, so take the time to reflect. Start a sentimental pile of possessions to pass on to family members. It will make you feel better to know that family heirlooms are still around—just not under your roof.
Decision Making –Round Two
Remember the 80/20 principle. Most people use only 20% of what they have. The other 80% is just taking up space. After deciding what you “absolutely must keep” give yourself a one-week break and go back through your possessions another time with a more critical eye. Once you get used to the idea of parting with certain belongings, it may be easier to make a final decision.
Ask for Help. Get a Second Opinion.
Sometimes it is challenging to get rid of things even if you know intellectually that you won’t need them. If you are finding it difficult to part with your items, or you are overwhelmed by the downsizing process, consult a Senior Move Manager to help you gain clarity in the situation. A Senior Move Manager is skilled at helping a client part with a possession without parting with the memory.
What Our Clients Say:
“You and your team pulled us out from under the most difficult move of our lives! Their strength, patience, tolerance, and understanding all with a sense of humor and efficiency.”
“Design 55 is a superb company in what they do. From the time Leslie visits, to showing us our new home, there is such organization from everyone. What a great crew! What a great company! This service was invaluable to us.”
“Design 55 staff were prompt, hard-working, efficient, and cheerful. They were very respectful while asking questions and seeking our opinions. I was also impressed that your staff arranged my china cabinet based on a photo I had taken of it! That in itself saved me hours of work unpacking and arranging crystal. Your services are very comprehensive. I can’t think of anything you had not thought of first.”